Global health ethics

Our activities

Developing normative guidance

The unit develops guidance for policymakers and government on a diverse range of bioethics issues including patient safety, epidemic response and vaccine research.

Producing ethics tools and resources

The unit produces resources for national and local ethics committees which suggest practical ways on how to resolve common ethical issues.

Capacity building

The unit conducts and coordinates training for Member States on public health ethics and research ethics.

Ethical Oversight of WHO’s research projects

The unit hosts the secretariat of WHO’s Research Ethics Review Committee which ensures all research supported by WHO is conducted to the highest ethical standards.

Ethics advice on WHO’s public health interventions

The unit hosts the secretariat of WHO’s Public Health Ethics Consultative Group, which offers WHO staff members a voluntary, non-binding ethics review mechanism for non-research, public health interventions.

International leadership

The unit hosts the secretariat of the biennial Global Summit of National Ethics/Bioethics Committees, a forum for national bioethics advisory bodies which discusses and develops consensus on ethical guidance.

The unit hosts the Global Network of Collaborating Centres. This valuable resource facilitates research, advises WHO and strengthens capacity for work on ethics at a regional and national level.

Past news and events

WHO Research Ethics Review Committee (ERC)

The ERC ensures that WHO only supports research of the highest ethical standards. The ERC reviews all research projects, involving human participants supported either financially or technically by WHO.


Global Health Ethics Unit
Department of Information, Evidence and Research
World Health Organization
20, Avenue Appia
CH-1211 Genève 27